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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Default New to making drawers

Even though I am 52 years old, I have never made a drawer.

I would like to make drawers for my workbench. I know there are a few different techniques for joining the parts together, so here is my question:

What is the simplest way for a beginner to make drawers that are fairly sturdy?

The first ones will be for compartments to store nails and nuts and bolts and stuff like that. I am not going to put really heavy things in them.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:32 AM
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Hi Chris

There was a thread about this way back, here

That's how Tage Frid showed people how to do it in his books. No need for fancy, expensive lock bits

Regards

Phil

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:00 AM
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Chris,

I made some pretty simple drawers for my workbench. The sides are 1/2" plywood with 1/4" MDF, or hardboard bottoms and dividers. On two large drawers that hold circular saws and other heavier items I used 1/2" plywood for the bottoms. Those bottoms were just glued and nailed with the bad nailer.

All the drawers are 24" deep with full-extension slides. I made three sizes of drawers. Most are 5 1/2" tall, two are 17" tall (for larger tools like circular saws, nail guns, and drills), and I have four drawers that are 2 3/4" tall. The shallower drawers make it easier to find smaller items rather than digging to the bottom of 5 1/2" drawer.

You can see from the photo that I've been using a simple lock joint to join the drawer fronts, backs, and sides. I made the joint on my router table but it could just as easily be done with the table saw. All the joints are glued and I always give them a couple of hits with the brad nailer to hold things while the glue dries.

On the smaller drawers I have 1/4" dados cut in the sides about every 4" so I can insert removable dividers to keep things organized.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Those joints look straightforward enough for even me to be able to handle.

Oliver, those look very much like the kind of drawers I would like to make.

Being a cheap *******, I am interested in a solution that doesn't use slides I have to buy.

What are my options there?
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:32 AM
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:35 AM
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Chris, I built a simple work bench 25 years ago when we moved into our house. The drawers were made from regular 3/4 inch plywood. I used glue and butt joints, mainly because I was not very skilled and tools were limited.

They have been use ever since. A couple weight 40+ pounds with all sorts of tools in them. A couple of years ago, I removed one drawer and opened up the area under the bench for a small refrigerator. I tried to break down the drawer and literally had to beat the pieces apart. The glue and finish nails were still holding very well.

Each drawer has a simple ledge for a tray to sit on. I can slide it back and forth to reach the tools underneath. Works really well with forstner bit storage and assorted smaller bits and bobs! :-)
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Curl View Post
Thanks guys. Those joints look straightforward enough for even me to be able to handle.

Oliver, those look very much like the kind of drawers I would like to make.

Being a cheap *******, I am interested in a solution that doesn't use slides I have to buy.

What are my options there?
I know the cost of slides begins to add up quickly when you need lots of drawers. The 24" full extension slides are about $19 a pair. But any solution that doesn't allow full extension makes a it difficult to get to the back end of the drawer. Plus, the slides are rated at 100 lbs. so there is no problem holding a drawer full of nails and screws. Hopefully someone else has a good solution for you.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 12:22 PM
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Oliver's right, Chris; It's a one-time expense that'll work for the rest of your life. Anything less and you'll be regretting it, guaranteed.
One very small item: I always round over the tops of my drawer sides and backs (the rough front, not the exterior facing front. Nothing gets your attention faster than a sliver under your fingernail...
A coat of urethane to seal the grain can't hurt either.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 12:23 PM
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I've been reading back-issues of American Woodworker on Google Books lately, and Oct-Dec 1991 they had two good articles about drawers. The first part is about carcass construction and runner options, the second is about drawer box construction and fitting.
American Woodworker - Google Books
American Woodworker - Google Books
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:02 PM
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+1 on drawer lock joints for the construction. I have got a drawer lock bit but after building the first couple of drawers and seeing how it worked, I just make them on the table saw or router table with a slot cutter.

As far as drawer slides, I used 14 sets of these in my kitchen, work fine

24 Full Extension Mount Drawer Slide Ball Bearing Side items in E-Mart Superstores store on eBay!

The dowside to slides is you loose an inch of drawer width. The drawer I put in this tool stand pulls out from both sides so I couldn't use drawer slides. The drawer just runs on the sides of the drawer. I did inlay a couple of strips of MDF on the runners and put bullnose on the bottom of the drawer sides to cut down on the wood-on-wood thing. I also agree with Dan on rounding over the tops of the drawer sides and front to cut down splinters.
I've been building all the drawers with 1/2" ply, sides, front, back and bottoms. All joints are the locking rabbet and glued up. I did the first couple of drawers with 1/4" hardboard bottoms. Guess which ones need fixing?
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